22 Year Old Killed After Stopping to Help a Driver — and the Suspect Steals His Car: Police
A good deed turned into a tragedy when Dhimitri Andoni of Clearwater, Florida, pulled over to help another driver and was killed by an oncoming motorist — and the suspect got away in Andoni’s own car, authorities say.
Andoni, 22, spotted a driver who had lost control of a vehicle while he drove near downtown St. Petersburg on I-275 on Thursday night, according to a Florida Highway Patrol press release obtained by PEOPLE.
Andoni got out of his 2015 Hyundai to lend a hand as his act of generosity was recorded by a camera in his car, NBC affiliate WFLA reported.
“Shortly after stopping, the motorist was able to depart the scene and Andoni walked back to his vehicle,” the press release says.
As Andoni returned to his car, Dana Thomas Byrd, 30, of St. Petersburg hit and killed him in a 1996 Ford, according to authorities. “Byrd stopped along the shoulder, approached Andoni and discovered he was deceased. Byrd then entered Andoni’s vehicle and fled the scene of the crash,” the press release said.
Byrd allegedly left Andoni’s car at Engineer Sales in St. Petersburg, where Andoni’s father found it hours afterward through GPS tracking. Police said they found Andoni’s remains and Byrd’s car on Friday and arrested Byrd at his home in St. Petersburg for leaving the scene of a crash involving a death and grand theft auto.
Andoni’s Facebook page says that he had worked at Wells Fargo and had studied at the University of South Florida.
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According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office database, Byrd was booked on Friday. He appeared before a judge on Saturday, according to WFLA, and has a $100,000 bond, records show.
The database says that Byrd has been arrested in Pinellas County 16 other times since 2005 for charges including driving under the influence, retail theft, domestic battery, child neglect and violation of probation.
Police are asking the driver helped by Andoni before his death to contact the Florida Highway Patrol.